The aim of this study was to determine if phonological processing deficits in specific reading disability (SRD) and specific language impairment (SLI) are the same or different. In four separate analyses, a different combination of reading and spoken language measures was used to divide 73 children into three subgroups: poor readers with average spoken language (SRD), poor readers with poor spoken language (SRD + SLI) and average readers with poor spoken language (SLI). These groups were compared on five phonological processing measures. The SRD group had deficits in neural representations of phonemes, phoneme discrimination, phoneme awareness and rapid naming. The SRD + SLI group had more severe deficits than the SRD group on half of these measures, as well as phonological short-term memory. Children with SLI were free from phonological processing deficits. Thus, phonological processing deficits were the same or different in SRD and SLI, depending on how SRD and SLI were defined, and how phonological processing was measured.